Do you find yourself inspired to start a project only to find that you lose energy and don’t want to pursue the same project even a few weeks after you started it? Do you start all guns blazing only to crash in terms of your motivational energy to complete the project?
If you answered the above questions in the affirmative, believe me you’re not alone. It seems that inspiration is not enough for us to complete our projects. Yet, inspiration is certainly enough for us start a project. But over time, our inspiration for a project will turn flat and begin to dwindle down and our energies plummet. That is when we will be tempted to quit this project and start another one.
What is worse, it is quite possible for us to never get back to that project, further complicating whether or not we will complete our writing projects. Obviously, if we don’t complete the writing projects that we start on a consistent basis, we won’t be productive or successful. And this, in turn, will cripple our self-confidence as writers, and make us feel as if we can’t complete any manuscripts.
But this need not be the case if we realize that, although inspiration is necessary to start a project, we need more than inspiration to actually stick to a project through all the ups and downs to the point where we are successful in completing the project. What we need is the self-discipline to complete our projects. If we have self-discipline and inspiration, then we will successfully work on our projects until completion.
So, what we need to stick to a project long-term is more than the fleeting feeling or emotion that is associated with the initial high that we receive when we get a new idea to write about. We need to make a commitment to the project and to have the self-discipline to slog through all the hard times—and yes, there will be quite a few such times. They are what one of my writer friends call test markers. A test marker is something that tempts you to quit or abandon your project because everything seems to be going wrong for you. Not only that, but your initial motivations probably died by now and you are merely going through the motions. So, it is much easier to simply quit. But notice that this temptation to quit is usually based on a feeling that is fleeting and temporary. If you just stand back for a few days and not quit, you will probably carry on quite well and complete the project.
As we all know, quitting is not conducive to success as a writer. And if you get into the habit of quitting many of the writing projects you start, you will be frustrated and unsuccessful. So, it is important to develop the self-discipline that will take your projects from inspiration to completion.
When you have self-discipline as a writer, you won’t be tempted to quit, even when everything is going wrong, because you will have a long-term plan in place for completing this project and you have committed to it. Self-discipline is not based on a feeling but it is based on a long-term attitude of commitment towards working hard to complete what you started, regardless what you feel at the moment.
So, try to develop self-discipline as a writer so that you could finish writing projects that you start. Not only will this build your self-confidence as a writer, but you will also be successful. And your inspiration along with self-discipline will help you to be the most successful writer that you are capable of becoming.
Irene S. Roth
Freelance Writer, Author, and Editor